Chesterton Tribune



CFD cleared to negotiate new contract with Superior Ambulance

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The Chesterton Fire Department has been green-lighted to negotiate a new contract with Superior Ambulance to provide dedicated advanced life support EMS services to the town.

At its meeting Monday night, the Town Council voted unanimously to authorize Fire Chief John Jarka to enter negotiations with Superior.

Superior’s original three-year contract with the town expired in May 2016 but was extended at the time for an additional year.

Under the terms of the original contract, the privately owned Superior provides EMS services to Chesterton residents at no public cost. The agreement requires Superior to operate an ALS ambulance, manned by a certified two-person crew, from the CFD station house 24/7/365; to transport patients to the hospital of their choice; to accept Medicaid and Medicare on all claims for covered services; and to bill third-party payers at its usual and customary rates.

The contract also specifies that, in the event of Superior’s recovering annual gross receipts over a certain amount, it will split the surplus 50/50 with the town, “up to an amount equal to the percentage of the town’s budgeted expenses attributable to EMS.”

In point of fact, Jarka told the council last year, at the time of the contract’s extension, the town has not recouped any of its costs associated with EMS assists, as Superior has never hit the gross-receipts threshold. But Jarka believes that Chesterton residents benefit from having a dedicated ALS ambulance and crew always stationed at the CFD.

Town Attorney Chuck Lukmann did note, in May 2016, that the threshold may need to revised before the contract is re-upped for any significant period of time. “I’m of the opinion that the numbers were originally unrealistic,” he said at the time.

Westchester Township Fire Protection Services

In other business, members voted unanimously to renew its contract with Westchester Township for the provision of fire protection services to designated portions of unincorporated Westchester Township.

Under that contract, Westchester Township will pay the town $39,341 this year for fire protection--a 5-percent increase over the 2016 amount--in two installments.

Public Hearing Scheduled on Vacation

Meanwhile, members voted unanimously to hold a public hearing at their May 8 meeting on the petition of Deer Run Apartments LLC--the owner of the apartment complex at 111 W. Taylor Street--for the vacation of a public right-of-way.

Bob O’Connell, representing Deer Run, told the council that his company was under the impression that a stretch of West Taylor Street--which dead-ends to the west at a heavily wooded area--had already been vacated. In any case, his company has been maintaining that public right-of-way since 1994 and apartment residents use it for parking.

Members referred the matter to department heads for review.


Posted 3/30/2017




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